“Why do you include 256×256 and 512×512 pixel icons in your collection? They are too big even for the 30-inch displays, who will ever use them?” This is the question I regularly hear.
The answer is simple – we include these images in our icon collections, because Microsoft and Apple recommend doing so. Although the hi-res icons are really seldom used, modern operation systems support them and Microsoft and Apple require them to be included with any software.
But there are other possible uses for large icons not related to MS and Apple design guidelines. Here are just three of them.
1. Application Splash-Screens
If you are an application developer, including a larger version of your application icon on the splash-screen or the About screen may be a sound idea. It will save you time and effort and at the same time will make your product look more consistent throughout. This approach is demonstrated in GIMP which uses the application icon image in the About screen.
2. Web Design
They say, the bigger your RSS button is, the more subscribers you will get
On a serious note, hi-res icons do go well with many Web 2.0 designs featuring big text and plenty of whitespace. Big icons help create a clear and visual response and make a Web site or blog more user-friendly. If 256×256 is too big, you can scale it down – all icons are designed to scale well.
Many people overlook the fact that 256×256 and 512×512 pixel icons are big enough to be used as presentation graphics. We include in each icon collection images in PNG format with transparent background, which are perfect for presentations. And unlike many clipart images, icons scale well and look clear from a distance, because icon designers pay special attention to these factors.
Have other ideas about the use of large icons? Feel free to leave a comment.